Residents to see 2 percent reduction in garbage rates starting in October

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City-of-MLT-logoMountlake Terrace residents will see a 2 percent reduction in their garbage, recycling and yard waste bills in October thanks to a new contract with Waste Management that the City Council approved at Monday’s meeting.

The 2 percent reduction is for single-family rates and Waste Management also will not charge any Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase during the first 12 months of the contract. The contract is scheduled to take effect this October and will be for eight years.

In addition, Waste Management will make a one-time payment of $40,000 to the city to help cover the cost of negotiation of the contract and the new contract includes an increase of annual funding (franchise fee) to the City of about $150,000. The City uses that fee to cover the cost of administration of the new contract, to fund the City’s payment of garbage billing for low income customers and to mitigate the impact on City streets associated with heavy garbage use. The new contract replaces the previous contract, which expires October 2015. Some minor details remain to be hammered out so the contract is subject to the review of the City attorney.

The vote was 5-1 in favor of the contract with Councilmember Seaun Richards voting no and Councilmember Kyoto Matsumoto Wright not present with an excused absence.

In voting against the contract, Richards noted that at the beginning of the year City staff had discussed a potential savings of $600,000.

“I don’t think we’re close to that,” Richards said. “For that reason I’m going to vote no.”

Richards also said that in talking with City Manager Arlene Fisher, he found out that Mountlake Terrace is paying one of the highest fees for its trash pickup.

Councilmember Bryan Wahl said that he thought Waste Management made a lot of concessions in the contract and that the company provided great service to the City.

Fisher noted that Waste Management’s annual franchise fee increased significantly to about $314,000. The 2 percent reduction to residents amounts to about $210,000 in savings, Fisher added. Taking into consideration the $40,000 one-time payment, the contract is close to the $600,000 figure, she added.

“I feel very confident about this contract and about this program,” Fisher said. “We do feel comfortable with the numbers that we have here.”

The City Council also unanimously approved the rejection of the only bid received for the Lakeside Apartments Pedestrian Accessibility Improvements project and directed City staff to re-advertise the project.

The project consists of constructing sidewalk ramps to meet the current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards, along the north side of 219th Street SW. The one bid received on the project was approximately 15 percent over the amount budgeted for the project.

City staff recommended submitting the project through the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington rosters, which will enable the City to directly solicit multiple contractors to perform the project work. City staff believes it will receive more competitive bids that are more likely to be in line with the engineer’s estimate.

At the start of Monday’s meeting, representatives of the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) presented 1st District State Representative Derek Stanford with the Municipal Champions Award.

AWC selected a legislator from each caucus who have supported and championed the AWC.

Brier Mayor Bob Colinas praised Stanford’s work with Brier.

“You’ve done a great job, a lot of great outreach to our communities, specifically in the city of Brier,” Colinas said.

Colinas noted that Stanford was the main sponsor in 2012 to assist Brier in obtaining $800,000 in budget funds to repair a bridge that was damaged during a flood/storm in 2007.

“Cities really are the front line in dealing with the needs and desires of our citizens,” Stanford said. “That’s why it’s so important that cities are strong.”

– By David Pan

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